Letters to the Editor

Original ‘sin' of colonisation has enmeshed our island in conflict

Regardless of how long Ireland has been colonised by England, or how unpalatable that term may be to some, the inescapable fact remains that it is still, or rather,18.75 per cent of the island is still, governed by a foreign jurisdiction against the wishes of the native Irish population.
While there was never any justification for this theft and exploitation of Irish property, the existence of a section of the community with historical loyalties to Britain is seen as justifiable reason for the continued denial of Irish right to govern the island of Ireland in its entirety.

Being in receipt of stolen property, even though it was received couched in some self-serving legal framework, is still considered a crime today regardless of how much time has passed since the initial theft. It is the failure to resolve this crime that, unfortunately, will guarantee a continuation of the centuries old conflict which both communities have had to endure.

The original ‘sin’ of colonisation and plantation has enmeshed our island in conflict since the early middle ages and until that sin has been acknowledged and steps taken to rectify that situation, that conflict and the threat of it, will remain a constant in Irish politics.
The building of empire, which may have seemed laudable prior to the 20th century, is now an outdated and undesirable ambition. The dismantling of empire and the restoration of national sovereignty to former colonies must now be what guides the foreign policy of former colonial governments.
Just as the English government asserted the colonists right to colonise Ireland, it must now take the first steps to decolonise the north of Ireland.
This must be done in the context of respect, inclusivity and understanding of all positions and views with exceptionally equal status accorded all interested parties. Until this nettle is firmly grasped and the true nature of the British presence on this island is understood by all, we are adrift in a sea of constitutional uncertainty.
The seeming ignorance of, or possible denial of the Plantation demands education and revelation on that subject. Let that conversation begin now to facilitate an informed and logical national debate on our future. To turn a blind eye to this elephant stomping around our living room, is to condemn future generations to the same turmoil, bloodshed and heartbreak that past generations experienced. Let’s do the right thing.

Newry, Co Down


The burning question now is who will save the town of Arva from the crows

I arrived in Arva, Co Cavan from Northern Ireland just before the Covid-19 lockdown. The tri-point of where Ulster, Connaught and
Leinster meet.
I have had some fascination over the years of Arva one day becoming the country’s capital in a united all-Ireland state.
Those hopes were soon dampened, however, on finding Arva a one-street town, approachable only by narrow, tortuous roads with Cavan and Longford the nearest sizeable towns some 20-30km away.

And there was an extraordinary welcoming committee, Arva’s crows. Nowhere in the world have I seen as many crows inhabit a community. The nesting season has just begun and I counted up to 40 nests on one tree alone.

Crows generally avoid towns and villages in favour of surrounding woodlands and forests. In Ireland a smaller, less noisy and more socially amenable relative of the crow, the jackdaw, blends quite naturally into towns and hamlets. Here the bird is hardly visible, having long been ousted by the aggressive crow.

Not on any scale can hygiene-sanitation be deemed a forte of crows. I have a small red car and, to my horror, it soon became a prime target of the crows’ aerial, faeces bombardment. Every day it needs a wash – as does the rest of Arva.

I don’t know why the people of Arva have tolerated the invasion of crows for so long.
Perhaps they are too laid-back or feeling isolated with little political representation. All it should take to rid the town of its crow infestation is to set about, once the nesting season is over, cutting down those tall trees and the crows would have to retreat back into the adjacent countryside.

Concerned residents have no idea how long their not-so-friendly feathered friends will prevail.
They appear fatalistically reconciled. In the meantime the search for an ideal site of the future capital of Hibernia goes on. Any suggestions?

Arva, Co Cavan


Seanad snub

The failure by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to include a representative from the Six Counties among the 11 taoiseach nominees to the Seanad has caused much hurt and disappointment, although not a terrible amount of surprise, amongst people here in the north.

The great strength of the Seanad is that it allows for membership from across the entirety of Ireland and of people from varied and diverse backgrounds with expertise and lives experiences in a range of fields. In the 11 nominees a taoiseach has the opportunity to enrich the Seanad by including voices from across our communities and from across all of Ireland.

Instead, on this occasion, the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and The Green Party chose to appoint either those who failed to win seats for them in the Seanad or Dáil elections earlier this year or existing party representatives.

At time of much debate about new constitutional arrangements emerging on our island, as well as the ongoing threats posed to us all by both Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis, it beggars belief that those who lauded the ‘Shared Island’ aspect of their Programme for Government and those parties in the north who are in formal partnership arrangements with them, began this new Oireachtas term by signalling to citizens in the north that they were yet again to be left behind.

East Belfast


Not fit for government

During elections in the Republic earlier this year SF promised to spend billions that the country wouldn’t have and naturally got a big vote. In any case the vast majority of voters didn’t trust SF. Why should they do so bearing in mind their prison officers and gardaí etc were murdered by so-called republicans and millions robbed from their banks and post offices in the past. In addition, informed voters knew SF treated Dáil Eireann with the same disdain as Westminster until the 1980s. Here in NI I don’t want my children and grandchildren governed by a band of individuals who ignore basic differences between right and wrong.

Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh


Tut, tut David

David McNarry has a brass neck trying to preach rights and wrongs in the north of Ireland, writing, “repairing the vitriol dished out by Leo Varadkar, on unionists over Brexit”. And his claim that the majority of unionists voted to leave Europe is misleading as the vast majority of the voters in the north voted to stay in Europe, so that includes a minority of unionists. Typical unionist still using gerrymandering. Tut, tut, David

Crumlin, Co Antrim

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Letters to the Editor